Lee Strauss is a prolific author of amazing work that spans across genres. Her main series – Perception (Young Adult Dystopian) – deals with deep issues of medical ethics.
PK Tyler: You write across genres as you and as Elle Strauss, but your main brand seems to be speculative fiction, is that right?
Lee Strauss: Yes. Even my YA books as Elle Strauss and Lee Strauss include elements of spec fic. Time travel and near future technology.
PKT: Your website calls your spec fic “Mystery/Suspense with a twist”. What do you think is the more important element in your work, the mystery or the sci-fi?
LS: My latest series is called A Nursery Rhyme Suspense: A Marlow and Sage Mystery. The world contains elements of sci-fi but the main genre is mystery. There is always a crime and a “who dun it” component.
PKT: The Perception series is described as a dystopian. Where do you think the popularity of dystopian fiction comes from?
LS: Probably Veronica Roth, lol. With a side dish of Suzanne Collins.
PKT: Does dystopian fiction have to be in the science fiction genre?
LS: Not necessarily, though, unless a book is void of any new, unexplored or uninvented elements, it most like would fall into sci-fi.
PKT: I tend to binge on stories. I watch full seasons of Orphan Black on Netflix and often read (and reread) entire series in practically one sitting. Sometimes more than once *cough*DUNE*cough*. What about you? What stories can’t you get enough of?
LS: I often binge on TV shows. I loved watching FRINGE on Netflix and still can’t get enough of CASTLE.
PKT: What single element do you think makes or breaks a book?
LS: Character attachment. Of course well-written prose and story development is important too, but at the end of the day, it’s the characters that bring us back.
PKT: Romance is often a key element in dystopian stories. Why do you think that is? Is it just a romance in another setting or is there something more going on by including this plot line?
LS: I think matters of the heart are part of the human condition. Ignoring physical attraction is like ignoring a character’s belief system and other things that make them fully human and not 2D. Romance doesn’t have to be the key thing, though, and usually isn’t. In dystopia there’s usually a strong survival thread. Eating and avoiding life threatening dangers have a higher priority than romantic urges.
PKT: What’s one mistake you’ve made with your writing or publishing you wish you could take back?
LS: This is a hard question. I try not to look back. Just look at was is right now and the best move forward. But if pressed, I’d say not sticking to genre and building a first strong series before branching out.
PKT: You’ve also written Time Travel Romance! How does this fit into the sci-fi genre in your mind?
LS: Time travel is acknowledged to be science fiction by the genre, probably because it usually involves a contraption of some sort or an anomaly of nature. In my case time travel for my main character in The Clockwise Collection works more like a paranormal gift.
PKT: So, what’s your next inspiration?
LS: I’m working on the third book of A Nursery Rhyme Suspense: A Marlow and Sage Mystery called Hickory Dickory Dock. This one has to do with time travel too (to the future instead of to the past), though the first two books do not and neither will subsequent books.
Falling or Drowning?
Lee Strauss: Falling
Military Ruling Class or Corporate Ruling Class?
Lee Strauss: Corporate
Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome?
Lee Strauss: Greece
If you had to, which world could you survive: a world without vegetation or a world without water?
Lee Strauss: I don’t think anyone can survive without water.
Back in time or Flash to the Future?
Lee Strauss: Flash to the Future.
Thanks PKT! It was fun!!